(CTN News) – Novak Djokovic embarks on his pursuit of a 24th grand slam singles title as the US Open commences, with the Serbian maestro requiring just a first-round triumph to regain the esteemed world No. 1 position.
The 36-year-old tennis virtuoso from Serbia makes a highly anticipated comeback to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, having been absent from the 2022 tournament due to his decision not to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.
Seeded second in the competition, Djokovic takes the spotlight during the evening session on the illustrious Arthur Ashe Stadium, boasting a seating capacity of 23,000.
Djokovic Faces Favorable Opening Challenge, Eyes Return to World No. 1
His initial challenge appears to be a relatively uncomplicated one, as he faces off against Alexandre Muller of France, currently holding the 84th spot in the world rankings.
Scheduled not to commence before 8:15 AM on Tuesday, Hong Kong Time, Djokovic’s match holds substantial significance.
A victory in this contest would secure his triumphant return to the summit of global tennis rankings, irrespective of the subsequent outcomes throughout the duration of the US Open fortnight.
Requiring a mere 20 points, Djokovic is on the cusp of reclaiming the highest ranking following his victory over the current No. 1 and defending US Open champion, Carlos Alcaraz, at the Cincinnati Open earlier this month.
Alcaraz Begins US Open Journey Following Wimbledon Triumph Against Djokovic
Alcaraz, who emerged triumphant against Djokovic in a gripping five-set Wimbledon final in July, kicks off his US Open journey a day later.
While the majority of impartial observers hold the hope that Alcaraz and Djokovic will navigate their way to another epic clash in the men’s final on September 10, Djokovic has asserted his focus remains solely on his opening match.
“Thinking about what’s to come in three or four days isn’t really productive,” remarked Djokovic on the eve of the tournament.
He continued, “It’s also a bit disrespectful to your upcoming opponent if your thoughts are already fixed on a potential final match-up… that mindset has never really resonated with me.”
In recent history, Djokovic’s initial match has typically been a straightforward affair – a trend that might continue. He hasn’t experienced an opening-round defeat in a grand slam event since the 2006 Australian Open.
On the women’s side, the reigning champion and world No. 1, Iga Swiatek, commences her campaign against Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson on Arthur Ashe. This match marks the beginning of her quest for a fifth career grand slam title.
Although Swiatek faced semifinal exits in the lead-in tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati, she holds the belief that her preparations this year surpass those of 2022.
“I’m definitely feeling more positive vibes compared to the period before last year’s tournament,” she expressed.
“However, being the defending champion comes with its challenges, so I’m adopting a measured approach and taking each step deliberately.”